How ministers fraudulently transfered N1.5bn from Ministry’s account to fund Jonathan’s campaign 

An investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC )  Shiabu Shehu on Monday told a Federal High Court, Lagos, how two ex-Ministers and others transferred the sum of N 1.5 billion from the Impress account of Ministry of External Affairs with Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN ) to fund political campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2015.

Shehu who was the third EFCC’s witness in the ongoing trial of former Minister of State for Finance, Mrs. Esther Nenadi Usman under Jonathan, former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode under ex President Olusegun Obasanjo , Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint  Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited told the court presided over by Justice Rilwan Aikawa, how the fund was transferred to an account belonging to one the accused for the purpose.

He said the beneficiary of the funds was neither a contractor, nor service provider to the Ministry.
 
The witness who was led in evidence by the EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo said he became familiar with the charge preferred against the accused in February, 2016,  when a petition against them over an  alleged fraudulent transfer of funds from the Ministry’s account was assigned to his team to investigate.

He said in process of their investigation, letter was written to Zenith Bank Plc  to obtain necessary information and documents in regards to account of Joint  Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited which was the beneficiary of the funds.

According to him, among the documents released to EFCC by the bank includes; statement of account from 2014 till 2015, instruments of operating the company’s account and account opening package.

Shehu said their investigation linked the former minister, Usman and Yusuf to the account, and Yusuf and some members of his family were directors in the company.
He added that on January 12, 2015, sum of N 400 million was fraudulently transferred from an impress account of Ministry of External Affairs, Research Capital with the CBN to the account of the company. 

“On January 16, 2015 again, the sum of N800 million was fraudulently transferred to the same account again and those who  were giving the instructions to CBN are A. Dardisu and B D Kiksenenso, both of them are signatories to the Ministry’s account.

“We are able to establish with our investigation that the beneficiary of the funds was neither a contractor, service provider nor handle any project for the ministry. Our investigation also revealed that the funds was move the company account to fund ex-President Jonathan’s political campaign in 2015 and among the people benefited the funds one OlaJumoke Akinjide and one Achike Undenwa”,  he said.

Testifying further, the witness said before the transfer of the funds to company’s account the highest inflow was N 8 million as at 2014, he added that the company’s was opened in 2005 but EFCC only got statement of account from 2014..

The testimony of the witness was however cut short, when, the defence counsel raised objection on issues of detail of how funds in the company’s account were disbursed by the defendants.

Usman’s counsel,Ferdinand Orbih (SAN)  argued that the issue of disbursement of funds was not part of the charge preferred against the accused and the witness couldn’t  gave evidence to it effect.

Fani-kayode’s counsel, Norrison Quaker (SAN) and others counsel also aligned themselves with argument and urged court to expunge evidence gave on the issue.

However, the court has fixed February 20 and 21 to rule on the objection raised by the defence and also hear a motion filed by Usman, seeking court’s to go and take care of health challenge.

The accused were arraigned before the court by EFCC on 17-count charge of alleged N4.6 billion fraud but pleaded not guilty

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